Quotes from Barcelona session
Nurit Peled: “1- The excellent team of experts who came to Barcelona cannot be ignored and will not be ignored. 2- The Palestinian-Israeli conflict and its resolution is a world’s affair and must concern everybody. 3 -the tribunal gives voice to the voiceless Palestinians who must always plead their case in the Israeli court, namely the court of their murderers, a court that allows their killing and has never convicted anybody of killing Palestinians. Now they have a place that takes their version seriously.”
Rochelle Harris (Human Rights Legal Aid Fund-UK): “It was similar to a training on the key legal issues, but the unique format made it engaging both to experts and to the layperson. I would highly recommend it to any campaigners, NGOs, parliamentarians, academics and others who want to see genuine progress towards social justice.”
Mairead Maguire (member of Jury): “I found the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, held on 1st-3rd March, 2010 in Barcelona, was an excellently organized and educational tribunal. It opened the mind, and deepened the understanding of all those present to the facts of the ungoing injustice which the Palestinians are daily suffering under Israeli siege and occupation. The RToP’s findings and conclusions challenge Governments and civil society to have courage and act by implementing sanctions, BDS etc., thereby refusing to be silent and complicit in the face of Israel ’s violation of International Laws.
“The Russell Tribunal on Palestine was brilliant, informative and decisive, reminding us that all our Governments, and we the people, have a moral and legal responsibility to act to protect Human Rights and International Law and we cannot be silent when injustice is being done to anyone, anywhere”
Michael Mansfield (member of Jury): “Wherever in the world oppression and armed conflict erupt, there is a common and constant demand from the communities most immediately affected for ‘accountability’. Too often the machinery of justice remains still and silent. At such moments it is essential that the anger, the pain and the sharp sense of injustice are ventilated and replaced by a real feeling of hope and rectification. The Russell Tribunal, over the years has achieved this, first in the Vietnam war and then during the excesses of military dictatorships in Latin America. It has been the only forum where the conscience of the people has been given a form and a purpose within a framework of fundamental human rights. With the assistance of respected, recognized and experienced experts (both witnesses and jurors) from different jurisdictions, clear conclusions have been formulated about the law and how it has been broken. Most important of all, positive methods of redress for ordinary citizens have been established. The predicament of the Palestinian people created by the undoubtedly unlawful activities of the Israeli state for nearly 60 years, is a problem which spreads well beyond the Middle East, and holds the key to many conflicts and disputes elsewhere. Until it is comprehensively resolved, international peace is at risk. That is the aim of the RToP. The Barcelona session was a remarkable first step which produced unanimity amongst the panel of eight international jurors about the measures which the European Union is obliged to take (in relation to Israel) to comply with international law — resulting in huge support for their concluding report and a quite unprecedented standing ovation. This work cannot be left unfinished and requires a continuing momentum in London, New York and South Africa”
Phil Shiner (Lawyer UK): “I have been reflecting on the RToP in Barcelona. I thought the proceedings were extremely well conducted and there was a solemnity and weight to those proceedings which mean that the findings deserve to be taken seriously by all states and in particular European states. I thought the event was extremely well organised and the large turn out reflected the huge public concern about the humanitarian aspects of the Israel-Palestine conflict and in particular the civilian casualties of Operation Cast Lead. I am immensely grateful to you and your colleagues for organising this event.”
Carlos Sanchis (ACSUR-Spain): “The Russell Tribunal on Palestine was the most important Palestine-related event to happen in Spain this year”
Ewa Jasiewicz (Free Gaza Movement): “Israel sees ‘lawfare’ — the popularisation and application of International Law by ordinary people, institutions and states to bring its soldiers, ministers and bureaucrats to justice as a serious threat to its expansion and colonisation strategy. States and institutions worldwide have allowed Israel to get away with murder. If this process can be made visible to us and if we can be armed with the insights to deconstruct these structures of impunity and unjustice, then we will be a stronger movement for it. The Tribunal is one tool of many to be used in the struggle for justice but it is a new one and a strategic one that we can all use.”
Gianni Tognoni (Leilo Basso Foundation): Bare facts can today be well documented. The specific role of Opinion Tribunals is to qualify facts in terms of substantial, not simply formal, accountability and exigibility of fundamental rights, which are progressively disqualified as reference category. Barcelona has addressed the responsibility of one of the key, but also of the most invisible, actors of the situation, the European Union. The responsibilities have been called with their names. Through the methodology and the language of the RToP, human rights re-assume their cultural, political, dialectic role of reference category.